Release Date: Oct 24, 2011
Record label: Gigantic
What, was Spray Davies already taken? On their second record, this amiable Atlanta quartet borrow the keenly stacked harmonies and unpolished yet precise pop licks of the Beatles' Cavern Club days, but their newfound psychedelic, meandering impulses nudge them closer to the Kinks and Yardbirds than to the Fabs; the viola cries and distended tango pulse of Esmarelda may have fit on Village Green Preservation Society. Gringo's very modern garage-rock bedrock supports the experimentalism well, and hopefully the band will follow their colorful curiosity beyond these forebears. Related• Photos: Random Notes .
Bands named after people are, for the most part, pretty hit or miss. For all the Lynyrd Skynyrds and Dead Kennedyses of the world, there are just as many Jethro Tulls or Ed Geins. Atlanta garage-rockers Gringo Star may have chosen to name themselves after the least popular Beatle, but their sophomore album, with its simple, driving hooks and catchy songwriting, puts them in line with the decidedly more popular Beatles of Paul McCartney or John Lennon.
On their debut full-length, Count Yer Lucky Stars, the band Gringo Star likes to take a simple ‘60s pop template and add some crunch to it. This is not a very original idea considering time and time again musicians have returned to this golden age of popular music for different sorts of inspiration. When done well it can be nice to hear the sweet sentiment, harmony, and jangle of ‘60s pop paired with some extra pizzaz, some new ideas, different production, or even just the addition of more guitar voltage.
If you look up the YouTube channel for Gringo Star, you’ll find the Kinks’ “Sunny Afternoon” in the band’s favorites list right in there with the cowboy crooner music of Bill Monroe and Slim Whitman. It’s a tidy way to sum up the group. The Georgia foursome takes old cowboy riffs and marries them with ’60s Brit rock swagger a la the Kinks, the Beatles and the Who.